The late composer once kinda cameoed on an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
Stephen Sondheim, most famous for his work on plays like West Side Story, Gypsy, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, and a list of other plays, films, and other works alike, passed away on Friday at the age of 91. While many people may know him for his work on Broadway and beyond, many may not know that he had a sneaky cameo on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
We think, anyway.
Sondheim’s name can be seen in a ship visitation log during the season two episode “Whispers”. In the log, Sondheim is listed as “S. Sondheim” and had the designation of being a captain. He arrived at DS9 on the SGS Powell, which may have been his ship, though that’s just speculation.
There are no details on “S. Sondheim” in the Memory Alpha wiki beyond what we know from this simple screenshot (below), nor anything about the USGS Powell.
There’s evidence to suspect that S. Sondheim is Stephen Sondheim.
Somewhere, some time ago, a producer of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine may have confirmed that indeed, S. Sondheim is Stephen Sondheim, but it’s not listed on Memory Alpha, so it’s likely no one has.
That said, there’s evidence in the log to suggest this was in fact a tribute to Sondheim. The port of destination for Captain S. Sondheim, from the planet of Hispaniola Minor. While minor could be seen as a reference to a minor key or minor scale in music, it could also just be a suffix added on to make the planet seem more in line with Star Tre naming conventions.
The name of the planet, however, Hispaniola, is a dead giveaway that S. Sondheim is Stephen Sondheim.
Hispaniola is the name of the island that both Haiti and Dominican Republic share. The main female lead in West Side Story is Maria, and she’s a Puerto Rican immigrant, which is part of the Great Antilles that includes Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, and other islands. To use the name from that island chain that features arguably the most iconic character in arguably his most iconic play, alongside Sondheim’s surname, it’s a dead giveaway that “S. Sondheim” is in fact, Stephen Sondheim.
As for the Deep Space Nine episode, “Whispers”, it’s fine. It’s an “O’Brien must suffer” episode.